Sharing some of the most romantic things Shoaib has done during their dating days and later, she gets back into her blushing teenage avatar and gleams, “When we were dating, on our first month anniversary, he sent me a pink stuffed toy with a little note (‘I can’t tell you everything that he wrote,’ she grins) which read, ‘I want to marry you, whether it is today, tomorrow, end of the year, next year or 10 years later, you let me know’. Post marriage I can recollect he had given me a ring on our wedding, it was about 4 carat. And he wanted that ring just a few days before our first anniversary. He did not tell me why he wanted it. On the day of our first anniversary he gave it to me saying here is your ring. I opened it normally and put it on; then I was puzzled as it why looked bigger. So he had actually had the ring remade but it was seven and half carats now.”
‘It does get hectic but we manage our schedules’
Now with their hectic schedules do they ever get to spend quality time together and do normal things like going to the movies/ dinners, cooking for each other without discussing cricket or tennis, she says, “It does get hectic but we manage our schedules. We’ve been travelling in different directions but we meet up and spend time together. As far as sports is concerned, as husband and wife we know what to say when a person wins a match or loses a match.” So has Sania learnt lot more of cricket now? “I liked cricket, I loved cricket, and that is how I met him at an India Pakistan match. I never followed Pakistani cricket before, but now I do,” she says.
‘Sports is a great leveller; it teaches you never to give up’
Sania has given so much to Indian tennis. She feels she has been richly rewarded for her contributions. “The sport has helped me get so much love from the country. It has imparted a sense of stability to my mind and given me complete satisfaction. But most importantly it has taught me never to give up after losses and that there is always another day, and no matter what happens, you can come back and try to win again. That is the beauty of sports: it is a great leveller; it teaches you to never give up. It is simple basics, but I learnt this philosophy practically, because I have to do it day in and day out. Sometimes we have to play two matches back to back. If we lose we have, to come back and play in the next two hours we have to gear up and forget the earlier loss and just carry on. The rejuvenated spirits give us the impetus to win the second match and the balance is restored. So this game has taught me that there is always another chance.”
Midway through her tennis journey how does it feel to look back? “If someone told me at the beginning of my career that I will achieve all this, being numero uno in the country, being the only Indian to be ranked in the top 30 in the world in singles I would have scarcely believed a word. It still feels like a dream. To win at the Asian Games, Commonwealth games and the Afro Asian Games were new highs indescribable in words. I am grateful to god that I was the chosen one and to my family for supporting me unconditionally.”